Currently, some climate protection organisations, companies and the Gold Standard are developing so-called “contribution claims” in the voluntary market as an alternative to emission reduction certificates with corresponding adjustments. This allows companies to support ambitious climate protection projects, but not to claim the achieved emission reductions for their own climate protection goals. The project country can count the emission reductions towards its NDC without hesitation and without double counting.
If certificates are used, in the Contribution Claim Model (“CCM”) they are merely evidence of the reductions achieved in the host country. However, they cannot be transferred internationally and therefore cannot be used for offsetting.
The Contribution Claim Model (CCM) is already a sensible alternative or supplement to offsetting that enables companies to meet their climate protection responsibilities in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Under the CCM, companies voluntarily invest a self-imposed CO₂ levy in innovative climate protection projects that cannot be financed or implemented by the countries themselves. The amount of these voluntary climate protection contributions is based on the amount of residual emissions of the company, the external costs that these emissions cause and the need for the climate protection projects.
Monitoring and certification schemes in the voluntary market could be used to measure the impact of projects. Both the Gold Standard and the Article 6.4 mechanism of the Paris Agreement provide for certifications that companies can use for independent verification of the emission reductions of their climate protection investment.
The advantage: through contribution claims, companies support the continuation of high-quality existing projects and the development of new projects. In this way, they help to reduce emissions and promote sustainable development in the host countries.
The disadvantage: Behind a climate protection certificate there is no longer an eligible tonne of CO₂ reduction. The company cannot offset its contribution against a tonne of CO₂ caused in its value chain, i.e. the contribution does not count as offsetting.
It is also important that contribution claims originate from projects for which the operator guarantees a comprehensive additionality verification. An independent auditor, such as TÜV, should check the project for compliance with the quality criteria for additionality, for calculating emission reductions and for assessing its contribution to sustainable development in the project region.
The NewClimate Institute was one of the first actors to develop such a concept, which is not about offsetting but primarily about contributing to transformation in the project country, for its own climate protection strategy and to implement it with atmosfair (see NewClimate Institute).